Why single parents should put their kids second when dating

putting kids first in relationship woman with kids single mom

I meet most men that I date online. What do you look for when dating a man with kids?

It's very common for guys with kids to write in their eharmony.com dating profiles:

“My kids come first,”


“My daughter is the center of my world!”

I get where you're coming from.

You want a potential mate to know that your life includes the giant presence of a kid or four.

You also want women to know you're a devoted dad (it's no secret chicks get hot for guys who are great with kids!).

Got it. Roger!

Dating with kids

When it comes to relationships, I'm fond of saying, “You never really know what goes on between people.” 

But there are a few couples in my life who I look to as models of the kind of marriage I'd like one day.

People who really enjoy each other. Respect and support one another.

In these families, the parents put their relationship before the kids. They are the dynamic centriforce around which the family's life orbits. And everyone thrives as a result.

There is lots of research to suggest that a happy marriage is the cornerstone of well-adjusted kids.

Celebrity sex therapist Laura Berman, Ph.D., writes in her relationship guide, The Book of Love:

 “No matter how sacrilegious it sounds, you need to put your relationship before your children. A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. What could be more important?”

That's a tricky proposition for single parents. If you're not in a committed relationship, it is very easy to make your kids the prominent focus of your life.

After all, they can be so demanding — not to mention fulfilling.

Plus, if you've gone through a divorce or another crisis that landed you as a single parent, you are no doubt concerned about giving your kids extra care and sense of security.

Consider online therapy to help you through challenging life changes. Very affordable, convenient and anonymous (neighbors won't see your car parked in front of the counselor's office!), get the help you and your family need via video, phone or text therapy. Find a counselor now >>

Dating with blended families

It's no surprise that so many blended families I know struggle with adjusting all parties to a home where everyone is suddenly expected to revolve around the new relationship.

It can be so hard. Some find it impossible.

But it is even trickier if one or both of the parents put the kids before their partner.

One dad I went out with nearly boasted when telling me about a four-month relationship that went sour because his girlfriend did not understand why he'd abruptly leave in the middle of dinner because his tween son would call, upset about some matter with his hockey coach.

Another's girlfriend eventually broke up with him after several years because he rarely made time to spend alone with her, instead expecting constant family time with his son.

Ultimately, failure to put their partner first was a sign these guys were not ready for a serious relationship, or at least not with those particular women, and that is totally normal.

It's not cool to pay lip service to intentions of growing a serious, long-term relationship and from the onset demote your lover to second-rank — even before you message her on eHarmony's website.

Women are certainly guilty of putting their kids ahead of their partner — maybe even more so than men, especially since they are nearly always the primary caregiver in the event of divorce.

But in this moment when men are struggling to claim their place as equal parents while society expects single dads to be the lackadaisical weekend father, I get why you are compelled to go overboard with your expressed devotion.

How do you date someone with a child?

Dating with kids in the mix can be complicated. Messy.

Challenges of dating a single mom or single dad can include:

  • Feeling left out, feeling your boyfriend or girlfriend puts the child before you
  • The mom or dad is struggling with raising a teenager— who may hate your guts.
  • Your partner may not bond with your child — or like your child.

Is it worth it to date a man or woman with kids?

It can be. It can also cause trouble in the relationship and lead to a breakup.

But that is up to you.

If you are just getting to know someone, check out:

If you are indeed ready for a real love, create a space for her or him. If it is a serious, committed, long-term relationship, the couple needs to be each other's No. 1 priority.

Stop putting kids first. Imagine a relationship that centers on the two of you, and all the stability and care your kids will take from that.

Accept that a truly wonderful relationship only multiplies the love available to your kids — not robs them of some of yours.

Because in those families, there is all the more love to go around.

Try Elite Singles online dating >>

Great examples of couples who put their kids second in dating 

A couple years ago, a guy I went out with, read my blog before we went out, and mulled my opinions on putting your kids behind your romantic partner.

 Over cajun food, he described what sounds like a remarkably happy suburban childhood headed by parents who enjoyed a 40-year marriage, five kids, and two successful careers.

My date has only the fondest memories of watching his dad court his mom on their weekly date nights and annual parent-only vacations — in addition to the family road-trip.

Staying home with the babysitter was tons of fun. “My dad made it clear that his relationship with my mom was the center of everything, while he was also the best dad ever,” he said.

What could be a better example of the benefits of putting your romantic partner first?

What if you don't have a romantic interest to start with?

This Modern Love column in the New York Times (which I read religiously and am only slightly bitter about the fact the editor Daniel Jones has rejected more than a dozen of my submissions over the years BUT NEVERMIND!) highlighted a 2005 essay by Aylete Waldman about the fact that she puts her husband and their fantastic sex life above their four kids.

The most interesting thing about the essay was the resulting shitstorm of controversy which landed Waldman on a much-viewed Oprah episode during which a hostile audience nearly attacked her.

Yes, that essay is a decade old, but it warrants a revisit because parents — mothers most especially — are still expected to make our children the center of our worlds, and always put kids first. Waldman wrote:

I do love [my daughter]. But I'm not in love with her. Nor with her two brothers or sister. Yes, I have four children. Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears. But I'm not in love with any of them. I am in love with my husband.

It is his face that inspires in me paroxysms of infatuated devotion. If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.

I love that Waldman challenges the institution that admonishes women for anything other than full-time adoration of their kids.

Waldman's work includes many of the points I've made here on this blog:

Many of you lapped up my essay about the fact that I don't live for my kids — and that is my biggest gift to them.

Putting kids before all else makes them neurotic and robs me of my potential to live the biggest, fullest life that I can — and model for my children that such a life is possible.

Putting kids first makes them neurotic and robs me of my potential to live the biggest, fullest life that I can — and model for my children that such a life is possible.

I've urged parents — single moms in particular — to prioritize their health above all else, including family time.

After all, you can't be an energetic mom now if you are overweight, and you are even more likely than single moms overall to burden your children in your old age if you don't care for your wellbeing now.

That despite my attempts to live said full life, I've found myself hugging my kids too much because I'm lonely — and that is entirely unfair to my son and daughter. Alas, I am only human.

I plan to read Waldman's essay collection, Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, which promises to dig into the societal pressure moms face to put their children into the laser-sharp focus of their universes.

Liberating music to my ears! 

But Waldman has a husband she is crazy about. I don't.

Related: Why you should sell your engagement ring

How does a single mom stop putting her kids first if you don't have a man to focus on instead?

In other words, how do you create space for a potential relationship when kids can be so all-consuming?

In the event you don't seek a romantic partner, where do you focus that energy if not on your children?

Cliche as it may sound: You gotta put yourself first.

That means taking care of your health. You must make it a top priority to hang out with other adults — girlfriends, dates, relatives, and friends.

It is not normal to spend all your time with children, nor make your offspring your primary emotional support.

And while you're at it, indulge in your instincts to have a fulfilling and profitable career — without any guilt whatsoever! — even though our culture tells you that stay-at-home mothers are better mothers.

The big takeaway

Give yourself permission to stop feeling guilty. 

Focus on research that finds that kids don't need nearly as much time with their parents as we think they do. 

A University of Maryland meta study of 34 papers found that after age 2, it makes literally zero difference how much time parents spent with their kids. In fact, researchers found that the pressure to spend so much quality time with children stresses moms out so much that it may actually make us worse parents than if we just focused our time on our relationships, health and making more money, and less on frontal-lobe development and deep connection with our children. That is right: We are spending TOO MUCH time with our children.

U.S. moms of 3-to-11-year-olds spend an average of 11 to 30 hours each week either fully engaged in activities with their kids, or nearby and accessible when needed. And for kids in their early teens, moms are there between 11 and 20 hours each week. On average, in 1975 moms spent just over 7 hours per week with their kids. We are spending more time with our children, yet feeling more guilty and stressed.

Want to date? Go for it — AND DON’T FEEL GUILTY!

Schedule one date per week — with guys from Tinder, your boyfriend or your husband (or, if your relationship permits — all three!) Get started today with Elite Singles >>

Not into online dating apps? Consider a matchmaking service. Read: It's Just Lunch matchmaking service review

Need a sex life? NO GUILT FOR YOU – ONLY BOOTY!

Do what you have to do.

Need to hit the gym?


Looking forward to that business trip even though you have to leave the kids at home?


I’m not worried you'll neglect the kids. If you are like the professional moms I know, the pendulum swings way in the other direction — and you’re far more likely to neglect yourself.

Dating someone new? When should single moms introduce a boyfriend to the kids?

Friends with benefits? 8 rules for single moms who have friends with benefits

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.


  1. Anna on May 28, 2019 at 10:52 am

    I would never date a guy who isn’t putting his children FIRST. Never. What it tells me is that he is not mature enough and too self-centered to be a reliable partner. I can’t trust a person who puts a stranger above his/her own kids. The weak and dependent always come first because they can’t survive otherwise, it’s that simple.

    • Carolyn on June 10, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Totally agree! My last relationship fell apart because the guy I dated had his kids 50/50 with his ex. and I wouldn’t spend his ‘off weeks’ with him. I have full custody of a 13 yr old boy. I’m his family and the thought of having him sleep on a couch while his mom was ‘getting some’ just made me feel uncomfortable and selfish. Especially if the relationship went south (which it did). I’ll have time to date in a few years. My son needs a stable home with consistency. Not to be treated like a third wheel. I see many parents treat their kids like an accessory. They should be your focus. My son is thriving in so many ways. I may not be in a relationship but seeing my son happy and emotionally healthy is what gives me joy. I don’t agree with this article at all.

      • Jason on June 18, 2019 at 10:15 pm

        I don’t think putting your kids second is the same as saying that the parent is selfish. Dating somebody can show the kid what a healthy relationship is all about. Balancing your personal interests along with your kids interests as well as introducing them to real people instead of just having them sit in front of the tv watching youtube can lead to long term benefits. Showing kids what a quality personal human relationship is all about seems more important than just servicing their needs. After all kids aren’t kids forever.

  2. Miranda on May 13, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    There is a saying in order to be in your child’s life tomorrow you must be there today! There is nothing wrong with dating, but you need to watch who you bring around your children, too many children are abused by “mom’s new boyfriend”. Putting your child first means watching the interaction, remember it isn’t just your life you plan to change it is that innocent little soul you decided to bring into this world! It is your child’s life too. If they grow up in an unhappy, unloving environment you will never hear the end of it. Yes kids grow up but doesn’t mean they don’t come back and visit sometimes weekly with the grandkids, and you babysit or have them over the summer. When you are old and your spouse is dead who do you need then? your kids but if you push them away for a new lover when they were growing up they will say good bye good riddance you may never have a relationship with them or see them ever again. Your time is limited with your babies enjoy them while they are young, new sexual partners can wait. Do not forget if you do have a good relationship with your children and get remarried your children from your pervious marriage do not inherit if you were to die first, your new step children along with their parent may claim everything as chances are the step parent will exclude your children leave everything to his/her own. Seen it happen. You have to protect your assets and children before stepping into a new marriage. its a lot of work though people think its easy.

    • Mary Beth on June 17, 2019 at 11:22 am

      It has to be healthy all around and non-toxic. This sounds great in theory but I have rarely seen it happen. Women are often jealous of the kids and guilt trip the dad into sacrificing their needs and that is wrong at every level and leads to massive emotional problems in the kids. The child you are raising is the priority, not your sex life. New relationships need to start very slow and if the kids are considered and don’t feel sacrificed and forced into something it will be far easier. And agree to every thing Miranda is saying. Plenty of time to put your relationship first after you raise your kids. If you already went through a divorce your kids need you more than ever. God gave you them to teach and mold and protect, not to watch you suck up to your new mate at their expense. I have also stayed single because my daughter has needed me and she is far more important than me having a partner right now. Plus I am independent and don’t need a relationship to define me. Also a good example to give my child so she doesn’t elbow her way into someone else’s life as an adult demanding to be first when most men would benefit more to be a great dad and raise a great human being, than have a romantic connection. The current system is FLAWED all around.

  3. hayla on May 10, 2019 at 10:49 am

    so back when me and my kids father were together, i was basically killing myself everyday being the best stay at home mother i could be, my kids father worked everyday and would leave work and go do what he wanted bc he knew i was home with the kids everyday and that they were being well taken care of, but he didnt realize he was neglecting me, i didnt get free time or i couldnt work. which dont get me wrong i loved being a stay at home mom but i didnt get to properly take care of myself which made me depressed and it was hard caring to my kids like i wanted when i was so depressed bc back then i believed my cares and needs can wait til they get older, and i wanted to be the mom that done everything right. well after 5 years of that it ended up ending me and their father which sucks bc i wanted my kids to have both of their parents together but i just couldnt do it anymore, no one was caring for me no one let me even let me care for myself so i ended up having to see someone for a year to help me get back to myself. so let me be the first to say that being that perfect “pintrest ” mom isnt all like you think. i now share 50/50 with my kids father and i work on my career in fitness and i take care of myself and give myself time to relax and also have fun and my life is 20 times better. my kids are still happy and healthy. i dont spend as much time with my kids like i use to but now they see momma smile and have fun and see me happy and which teaches them more than you think. my oldest tells me all the time “when you’re happy mom im happy and i love seeing you smile”. so as much as you moms out there say “i put my kids first” i bet you deep down wish you could put yourself first without feeling guilty about it, bc i did and i felt guilty for a while about it but it goes away when you realize that it isn’t hurting anyone, your kids will still be okay. I do put myself first bc if i didn’t and didn’t take care of my health, and something happened bc i didn’t then i died then my kids wouldn’t have a mom bc i was too stupid to take care of myself.. stop trying to make everyone see that you’re the best mom out there and stop caring what others think. i know im a good mom, even tho im not with my kids all the time and thats all that matters to me. wake up people.

    • joyha on May 13, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      How about don’t have children then? IF your baby is crying for food do you feed yourself first? and see if there is left over for your child? or do you feed your child? Selfish mothers like you are the reason why children grow up and resent you and never talk to talk to you again. I have seen young girls abused sexually by mom’s new boyfriend/stepdad…how many of these families work out blended families are not natural this is why so much conflict happens. It works out when both parents love equally their child and put that child needs first as they grow up get married or leave the home then do whatever that is your time. but to have a child to be in tramatic shock is cruel

  4. Me on May 3, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Your kids will hate you someday and that guy will leave you like you deserve. You rather have a COCK than your kids, Who were born after your selfish desire.

  5. Georgina on April 22, 2019 at 1:12 am

    I read something a long time ago that said if you don’t look after your own happiness, your family won’t be happy either. It was ok to be selfish and put yourself first. Once I started doing that, I was a much happier person and probably better to be around. I found me a beau and we’ve been pretty happy for almost 5 years now. On top of making oneself happy, I think I’m teaching my son lessons about independence and responsibility. At 17, he’s got a decent maturity level. But then, at 12 he took care of me for 2 months after a major surgery. I couldn’t drive, cook, or clean the entire time. He didn’t complain once. So, go ahead and put yourself out there. Be upfront with your kids about what you want and what you’re doing. They’ll understand and can handle the real world.

    • Christy on May 2, 2019 at 3:25 pm

      I really appreciated this article. I also agree with you in recognizing when its time to leave a relationship or when you should work harder for it to last. I have been in a relationship for 2.5 years with a man in his mid 50’s that has 4 grown kids, none of whom live with him. We also do not live together and only see each other for a couple hours on our “date night” and then maybe once on the weekend. Every time we’ve been together ( I truly cannot remember a time when this did not happen), his kids will call or text. He takes the calls every single time without fail. There have also been times when we were on a rare vacation together and they will text him and call limitless times to the point where he becomes so upset that he gets up and tells me we need to go home! His kids behave like manipulative little children that always want their way. They still expect a birthday party/dinner every year, they expect him at all of their holiday events (and always invite the ex-wife to come), and even expect him to be there to drive them to and from work if they ask. They will hang up on him if he does not do what they ask. Every single event they have the ex wife is invited to attend, or she is hosting the party and is right there front and center. Often times she will plan the event and then hand my boyfriend the bill and tell him to pay for it. I let him know I will not be attending any more events while the ex is present because she has in the past and continues to screw my boyfriend every chance she gets, while giving me her fake hugs. I really can’t stand it.. There have been many many times when my bf and I have been out on our date night and his phone will start to go off and he just can’t seem to silence it or leave it alone. (He has now taken to hiding his phone when his kids call and then lies to me about who the call is from) I personally have chosen to silence my phone when we are together and will not even look at it. In my opinion, that is called respect. Anyhow, I have realized over time that there is an unhealthly attachment that my boyfriend has with his kids, especially when I see his entire demeanor change when he gets a call or text from his adult kids. He behaves like a child that is in trouble with his mommy. Last Christmas, his kids texted him continuously throughout our entire Christmas Eve celebration in a group text, telling him he was selfish and unloving because he would not do what they had asked him to do, which was invite the ex-wife to HIS family Christmas party. I have 3 daughters and they range in age from 20-30 and are very independent and respectful young women. They have lives of their own, that they thrive in and would never dream of calling or texting me repeatedly for any reason other than an emergency, and especially not when I am on vacation with my man. At this point we are in counseling and although it could help a little, I have come to the decision that it is probably time to cut my losses and call it quits. I live a very healthy existence with a good career and great friends and family members. We all of respect one another, spend a healthy amount of time together and very much treasure each relationship. My boyfriend has had every possible opportunity to change things up and make me a priority in his life but I’m afraid its too late now. He is the one that has allowed these behaviors to continue and has refused to stand by me and be a real partner. He does not seem to understand that some day all of his kids will go their own separate way and he will be alone. We could’ve had a very happy life together. I was hopeful by what started out to look like a sweet, respectful and fun relationship. It is very disappointing, and as much as it hurts to let him go, it’s time to take care of me. ;-)

    • lisa on May 13, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Yeah my mother did exactly that she put her own happiness over me, and in return I have mental issues from being sexually abused by her 2 past boyfriends/stepfather. I was kicked in the head with his foot when she wasn’t home, he would pull down my pants and hit me with a pan. Its people like on this page that cause trauma. Today people wonder why their adult children don’t want to see them? simple family means nothing after my mother went on to have new children. I haven’t seen my mothers face in 20 years. I do not have children, I do not want to be in a relationship as I am terrified. I dislike all people. My mother abandoned me for a new man. You should be a mother first this was your given job by god first! raise your kids and wait until they are grown, and protect them in your wills if you have family heirlooms. Seen them end up in ponshops because the new lover thinks its funny.

      • Celeste on May 25, 2019 at 4:55 am

        My mom also chose a man over me. She left me with my dad when I was 8 and he raised me ever since. My dad put me first my mom put her bf first. Now Im 22 my moms bf eventually dumped her and now she has no one. My dad put me ahead of his gfs and now we are best friends. I talk to him everyday, we see each other a few times a week we do all sorts of things together. If I have a bad date with a guy daddy is the first call I make to come pick me up. I could care less whst happens to my mom. When shes old and grey and needs someone to take care of her I wont be there but you can bet Ill be there for my dad whenever he needs me.

        • Morg on June 11, 2019 at 5:48 pm

          Yea but what’s happens when YOU get your father and you’re in a romantic relationship and he gives all his attention to his child from another woman. I promise you will feel different.

  6. Nora on March 24, 2019 at 1:19 am

    After I briefly mentioned an example of this article to my boyfriend who has a pre-teen daughter (we’ve been dating for almost 3 years), he went off in a fit saying if I expect him to tell his kid that I’m more important than her (his daughter), this relationship is over, and he also told me I’m jealous of his daughter. That really hurts as I have put lots of time, energy and money on his daughter. I love my boyfriend but is it better to break up now? The reason I brought up this article to him is that I told him I feel depressed and lonely as we do not have date night anymore. I’m lucky if I can get a date night with him once a month. We say we love each other, but is love enough in this case? Thanks for your thoughts and advice on this.

    • James on March 25, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      Your massage is short but still have enough information to make some conclusions. First is obvious he is a stubborn man and the way he answered looks like he will never change his point of view, besides not being open minded or mature enough to listen and at least take into consideration before giving blunt answers. Second, a man that gives you one night a month is not worth even thinking of him. Run away from that the soonest. You already wasted plenty of time. Last, I’ve been in stuff like that lately and no matter how much you try the person stays on his stubbornness and point of view. Why waste more time. Clock is ticking. Find an open minded man or someone at least that listen and gives you more time than his leftovers. I was in a relationship with someone like that and she gave me one three days a week and that wasn’t enough for me. By the second year I realized by asking questions and hearing her views that the mess wasn’t you anywhere. For some reason the relationship kept going three more years to realize even deeper that the mess wasn’t definitely going anywhere. you put up with once a month. Love/emotions blinds us a bit and we be on stuff like that for ages to realize at the end when we are tired and angry, that we wasted too much time in something that we should have known wasn’t going anywhere. If after reading an article like that he doesn’t understand, he will never will. Most of the time when you realize the first two years that something looks like is not going anywhere, it won’t. The only way you could live with a selfish and little minded person like that is by sacrificing your own point of views and ego and being a slave of his ignorance, and I’m sure you wouldn’t do that. As I have seen, for some reason many ignorant people, like him for example, remain ignorant for the rest of their life. All you got to ask yourself is if you are willing to take his way and live with his breadcrumbs that fall from his miserable table for the rest of your life? I’ve known friends that be in runish like that for more than 15 years to then realize what they should have realized in the first two or three years. Well, at least you have a good start early in realizing what’s inside his brain. That’s how I realized everything, by asking questions. The only way you can dig into a person’s mind. You did your CSI early. I learned this: ask ask ask and you will get. Don’t ask, you will never know…. Learn to unleash what’s in people’s brain.

    • Christina on April 4, 2019 at 5:44 pm

      I am in a similar situation, but more complexed, no I would never want him to tell that to his kids that im more important because they are young kids and dont need to know that…My bf and me both work, I work two jobs and go to school , he gets his kids everyday and his ex has him wait around until she is off… she works at a vet clinic and there is a closing time but her time are never consistent. Im talking he gets off at 4 and she gets off at 530 when she has to come get them but 630,7 ,30 everyday ..He also gets his kids every other weekend so I get to see him basically to go to bed and two weekends a month …. I recently asked him if she can just come to the house to get the kids every other week so he is not just driving a round waisting time …while I’m at home cleaning, cooking for my two girls and him, and trying to complete school work and help girls… he did it for a couple weeks and now has continued back to the other way, when I asked him why is everything at our expense he states that he’s not doing it for her he’s doing cause he wants to… he also seems to have a problem with my daughter, mind you she does act up from time to time and maybe more than a usual 8 year old but due to domestics between her dad and I. He has been sent a way, likely prison soon she probably acts more out cause she is somewhat jealous where I can see why I would be to. When he watches her on thurs because I am working late he keeps his kids in my room and closes mine out.. I think he is afraid my 8 year old will hurt his 3 year old but the only violence that has happened is the 3 year kicking my 8 year in the back …He pays for half childcare, half medical and feeds them most of the time, but because his kids do not sleep at our house she refused him to claim any of the two… not only that she makes him feel guilty if he says he can’t get the kids, comments such as oh you dont want your kids. how much more could a father get his kids without them living with them.. Otherwise he is a great guy, I am thinking about starting to be done with this relationship its drivin me crazy for over a year , so I know I can’t live like this forever. So Nora if he is that upset about he’s never gonna change, and your always gonna be lonely, so find someone that finds time for you,

    • jenny on May 13, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      You are not more important than his daughter, he was probably there the minute she was born, and during her conception, he probably rocked her to sleep when she was a baby and changed her. You are a new girlfriend you came after the child. The daughter is blood family, she will give him grandchildren, look at all the old people they rely on their children’s help, spouse can be dead and gone, divorce is easier than divorce on a child.

      • L on June 17, 2019 at 12:44 am

        In my situation the daughter…16 has no idea what a healthy relationship is and doesn’t want children of her own aka grandkids. My bf needs to understand that being friends with his daughter is not being a father. He doesn’t know a healthy relationship from a hole in the wall and all of you are a simulating putting yourself first with not feeding a crying newborn should seek actual professional help because I am pretty sure that that is not what this thread was about.

  7. […] Why single parents should put their kids second when dating – I meet most men that I date online. What do you look for when dating a man with kids? It’s very common for guys with kids to write in their eharmony.com profiles: “My kids come first,” […]

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  9. Notspecialanymore on December 22, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Obviously my ex husband believes in this policy. He has chosen to not see our children on Christmas Day nor to spend any school holiday time with younger child in order to be with new Ukrainian girlfriend, who will be introduced to his family and friends and taken on holiday. This is a perfect example of putting partner ahead of children. I guess he wants to establish his relationship with her first. I have no choice but to accept it and according to this article, it is normal. I see it as the selfish behaviour of a midlife crisis and nobody cares about what he does or how it impacts others, except me, the now single mother.

    • greatmomcauseisaidso on February 20, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      So interesting! Your comment is spot on… what a ridiculous article. Divorce, although not uncommon, still remains a most difficult situation and transition for children. Of course a loving respectful relationship can be the most solid of foundations for a family but, if there is divorce, there is no loving solid foundation, perhaps there never was. Putting yourself, dates, and current or future partners on a priority level higher than your children is most certainly not in the best interest of your children. If you cannot respect a father or mother’s need to run to the aid of their child, regardless of how petty you feel the issue might be, then you need to definitely move on to your next choice of dates, If your children live with you most of the time, count yourself lucky and enjoy it, they will be out of your house sooner than you think, you will then be free to do as you like. If your children live with your ex the majority of the time and you just can’t seem to prioritize their needs over your date’s, lover’s, new partner’s, etc., that’s plain pitiful and probably indicative of why you are divorced in the first place.

      • Isittimetomoveon on March 10, 2019 at 10:36 pm

        I am currently in a 5 year relationship. I have 2 kids that live with us full time. He has 3 kids, 2 of them are the same age as my youngest. Sometimes we are on opposite weekends When this happens we literally have kids every weekend. I am fine with it as I know what I signed up for, just like he knows what he signed up for with me.
        My kids went to spend a week with my family. His kids asked to come over for the week because they didn’t want to go to daycare. They do spend a lot of time at daycare, more then the average kid.
        This week i asked if they could come later in the week. I wanted some down time. As the female all cooking falls on me and his daughter needs help washing her hair.

        For the last month I have taken off a lot of time from work to be him during a family emergency.
        During this week I was hoping to get caught up at work.

        Am I being selfish? Did I make him choose between me and his kids?

  10. kathleen paquin on December 11, 2018 at 7:37 am

    I was a single parent working two jobs ,left my daughter father when she was 4 month as he would had killed me and most likely her.When she was nine I was going to get married when I told her she flipped out hitting me sreaming.We lived together for a year he asked her If he could be her dad she never answered him but did everything to destroy our relationship she could and it worked.He eventually left.I was 22 by the way .I put us both in counseling she refused to talk.She continued to break up any relationship I had.By the time she finished high school I had serious back problems from working 16 hour shifts all my adult life.Never got a cent child support,I was to scared of him he kidnapped me and beat me many times.I just wanted him to stay away.Plus he was in jail several times once he almost killed his father.My daughter wouldn’t go to college or trade school unless I paid 100 precent.I couldn’t work more then I already was as I was going to the pain clinic every month by now.She moved out after trying to hit me and telling me she didn’t have to f—— listen to me anymore.All because I asked her what time she was coming home.I furnished her apt.brought her food several times and always was there if she needed me.By the time she was 23 she got married called me on mothers day and disowned me.A year later she had a son I wasn’t allowed to see two years later she left her husband because she said she could do better.A year or two later not really sure she had another son by 2016 she had 5 children got married again and I haven’t seen her for around 13 years.Out of the blue she calls me says she sorry ,but she has told stranger so many lies about me.How my mother raised her and I never worked and was on drugs.I saw this on her facebook but never said nothing as it was the only way I could see what my grand children looked like.She doesn’t know I know this I’ve been disabled for 5 years now.I don’t trust her at all.I love her but I don’t like her.I did get married around 6 years after she disowned me.But I’m in pain everyday of my life.My spinal cord is enlarged,I have 4 pinched nerves and two disc compression my spinal cord.Partial feeling in my feet and nerve damage.All of this by the time I was 49 years old from working all the double shifts and 2nd jobs to raise her.She went to private school for 12 years.Was it worth it putting your child first.This is what you get back.You would think now that she is grown 34 years old.Her 2nd husband was accepted by her first son.That she would understand that her life would have been better if I wasn’t forced to be a single parent all her life as she got involved with someone real quick after leaving her husband,but she doesn’t.She says I tried to force people on her.I don’t know where we stand and I’m unsure what I even want with her,I gave this child everything her kids don’t have much at all and she seems fine with that.

  11. Death Lord on December 8, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Most normal think being a parent requires sacrfice. This belief involves putting the family first, as the family is already established, the foreginer is late to the party and needs to be compatible or else there will be nothing but fights.

    “I love my husband more than I love my children.” The defense of this statement doesn’t stand with me, in fact, now I just feel less interested in single mothers. That is not challanging the auidence with a new, striking way of thinking, as if she was a lone intellectual facing perscution.

    That is just a mother who is trying to justfy going out more.

  12. Dont know what to do on November 13, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    I am currently in a relationship and my fiance had a 20 yr old and 24 yr old who does not help out, wont clean up, make messes for someone else to clean, room looks like a tornado went through it, just started working but would play video games all day, and sleep the rest of the day. Still will not pay a bill. My fiance makes sure she gets up extra early to make sure he gets to the bus stop for work. Mind you, this is only 5 min walk. She makes sure his lunch is made every day. She would make sure she got his hair cut when he wasnt working, paid his cellphone bill and put money in his pockets.. the oldest one is an alcoholic and she often bails out of jail and he doesnt pay her back and constantly needing money or needs her. When they both have money and jobs and girlfriends, u dont hear from them. She was in the hospital, she didnt hear from them..she was in jail for a.few days(wrongfully accused) they didnt ask about her..here I am cant get a lunch, all we do is argue about them not keeping the house clean or his room cleaned or even flushing the toilet. Despite how I feel and what I say she still puts those adult kids first and it is a strain on our almost 15 year relationship. I thought once they were grown it would be different but worse.

    • jenny on May 13, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      lol try to understand a child for life they may grew up, get married even have children of their own it makes the fruit better because then grandma now gets to spoil and baby sit the grand kids, you see children never really leave, divorces happen but you will need your children one day.

    • Nikki on April 21, 2019 at 10:48 pm

      I really liked this article and thought it had very valuable information.

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